Missouri Public Policy

Smart Changes for the Historic Tax Credit Program

From Deb Sheals, Public Policy Committee Chair, Missouri Preservation

As most of you probably know by now, the Governor has called a special session of the legislature, to begin on September 6th. The centerpiece of the special session is a massive Economic Development bill that will impact almost all existing tax credit programs, including Historic.

The proposed legislation will make many changes to the HTC program, including a seven year sunset, elimination of the ability to combine historic and other tax credits, and a first ever cap on annual allocations for small projects. (Up to this point, projects requesting less than $275,000 in tax credits have not been counted against the overall cap, which allowed owners to plan without uncertainty about when development incentives may become available.) The new law would create a separate $10 million cap for small projects.

Capping the small deal exemption would have an arguably minor impact upon redemption totals, but affect many program users. In spite of large numbers of projects, the overall cost for this category is low. In FY2010, small projects made up 72% (159 of 172) of the total number of approved projects, but all of those only accounted for 28% of the dollar amount of credits issued (just over $11 million). This would cut one of the most effective state incentives available for modest redevelopment projects. Smaller developers cannot afford to deal with the funding uncertainty that would come with a new cap.

The bill calls for a complete end (sunset) to the program in seven years. This uncertainty will shut down development many years ahead of that time, since it often take many years to get a redevelopment project underway. Alternate language calling for a regular review of the program offers a much more reasonable way to handle this issue.

Other troubling proposals include eliminating the ability to use Historic and Low Income credits in the same project (stacking). This change would be especially damaging to efforts to reuse important resources such as vacated historic schools, which can be very hard to redevelop, but adapt well to new low-income senior and workforce housing.

The proposal also cuts the overall cap to $80 million per year. Although this is a drastic reduction, it is being paired with administrative changes that are expected to make the program much easier to use, which will soften the blow a bit. It seems prudent to accept a slightly lower cap ($100 million is much more reasonable) as long as that is tied to administrative changes.

Ask your legislator to support the small deal exemption and oppose a sunset.

It will make a difference if they hear from us.

Don’t know your legislator’s name or contact information? Look here.

Historic Preservation Missouri

Missouri’s Most Endangered Historic Places Announced

Missouri Preservation announced its List of Most Endangered Historic Places for 2011 on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. The slate of endangered sites was unveiled at a Missouri Preservation Press Conference, held at the Oak Grove Mausoleum St. Louis County, which itself is on the 2011 List of Most Endangered Historic Places.

Hodgen School in St. Louis' Gate District neighborhood, nominated to the statewide endangered list by PRO's Michael Allen and Lindsey Derrington.

The Most Endangered Historic Places, one of Missouri Preservation’s most visible programs, calls much needed attention to threatened historic resources throughout the state. The Most Endangered Program annually highlights historic resources that are “at risk.” Each year Missouri Preservation solicits nominations from around the State, evaluates the merits of the submissions, and announces the “Most Endangered.” Throughout the year, Missouri Preservation provides technical assistance, advocacy, and planning support for the listed properties.

Missouri Preservation Board President Karen Bode Baxter, Penny Pitman, Chairperson of the Missouri Preservation’s Most Endangered Historic Places Committee and Bill Hart, Missouri Preservation’s Field Representative made the announcement.

Nine listings representing eleven buildings and structures were held over from the 2010 List, as they are still considered endangered and continue to need support to save them from deterioration or destruction. Six historic places are new to the 2011 list, including the Williams-Gierth House in Poplar Bluff, the Jefferson School in Cape Girardeau, the William P. Thompson House in the Trenton vicinity, the Delmo Community Center in Homestown, the Hodgen School Building in St. Louis City, and the Oak Grove Mausoleum and Chapel in St. Louis County. More detailed information about all endangered historic places is available here.

DALATC Historic Preservation Missouri Public Policy

Changes to Missouri Historic Tax Credit Pass Senate Committee

by Michael R. Allen

Yesterday the Missouri Senate’s Ways and Means Committee passed by a 5-0 vote a committee substitute to Senate Bill 280 (now SCS SB 280), which would implement many of the Tax Credit Reform Commission’s recommendations. The new version of the bill takes the bill from 109 to 254 pages, and tacks the Compete Missouri legislation (SB 279) onto the bill.

Included among SCS SB 280’s numerous policy changes are several that would change the state historic tax credit for the worse. Here is a summary of the changes:

  • Caps all annual issuance of historic tax credits at $75 million;
  • Sunsets Missouri’s historic tax credit after August 28, 2015 unless the legislature re-authorizes the program;
  • Prohibits “stacking” of historic tax credits with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Neighborhood Preservation Act tax credits;
  • Authorizes the Department of Economic Development to define an “applicant” for the credits;
  • Permits only qualified rehabilitation expenditures (QREs) incurred prior to issuance of the tax credits;
  • Establishes a limit of $50,000 in tax credit issuance for an owner-occupied property, and prohibits applications from owner-occupied properties purchased for $150,000 or more.
  • The most pernicious change is the new cap formula, which does not separate small and large projects as the 2009 cap did. The result will be a system that throws homeowners, small business people and neighborhood groups in the same mix as developers with stronger political connections. This new version of the Missouri historic rehabilitation tax credit would be highly politicized, and would allow the Department of Economic Development to pick winners and losers.

    Among other sections of SCS SB 280 is the bizarre recommendation that no applications be taken for the Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit (DALATC) after August 28, 2011. Looks like the “tax credit for one man” — a charge that Department of Economic Development officials refuted at a public forum in St. Louis in September 2007 — will become exactly that. Why not simply end the program altogether? The DAATC has a sunset in August 2013. Under SCS SB 280, applications would end this year but the program would continue to exist for another two years. I cannot pretend to understand that logic.

    Readers, what do you think? Don’t tell me — tell your state senator and Governor Jay Nixon!

    Missouri Public Policy

    Tax Credit Review Commission Recommendations

    Governor Jay Nixon’s Tax Credit Review Commission has approved the recommendation that the Missouri State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit’s annual cap be lowered from around $161 million to $75 million. Other changes included in the final recommendations are disallowing combination of the historic tax credit with the Neighborhood Preservation and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

    The Missouri Coalition for Historic Preservation and Economic Development has posted an article that outlines how these recommendations ended up being passed after the Subcommittee on Historic Tax Credits made completely different recommendations. Read that article here.

    Missouri Public Policy

    Tax Credit Commission Subcommittee Report on the Historic Tax Credit

    From the Coalition for Historic Preservation and Economic Development

    The report contains the Subcommittee’s recommendations to the TCRC. Per the final report, the Sub-Committee’s methodology used to come to the report conclusions were as follows:

    Over the course of its meetings, the Subcommittee collected and considered a significant amount of testimony, facts, assertations, and reports from economists, national organizations, DED, members of the development community, private and public leaders and the public themselves. The Subcommittee submits this Report in part as a response to the fifteen questions posed by the Co-Chairmen of the Commission in their memorandum to the commission dated September 16, 2010. The Subcommittee has also chosen to supplement its response to the Commission’s questions with specific recommendations to the commission for proposals to modify the program.

    The HTC Subcommittee’s Final Report identified seven recommendations for the Tax Credit Review Commission to consider for its final report to the Governor.

    1. The Annual Cap placed on the credit in 2009 to remain in place
    2. Revision to HTC Carry back/Carry forward provisions
    3. Revision to Deferred Developer Fee methodology
    4. Reductions of Percentage of Credit when combined with LIHTC
    5. Owner Occupied Cap reduction
    6. Cost Certification Review – Create more efficiencies and quicker turnaround time
    7. Program Efficiencies – work to clarify DED interpretations of the law and to direct issuance fee back to support the program

    The Tax Credit Review Commission will be meeting November 5th in Jefferson City, MO to review all reports from the various Tax Credit Subcommittees. Once all reports have been reviewed by the TCRC they will draft their final report about all of Missouri’s Tax Credit Programs for Governor Nixon to review.

    Historic Preservation Missouri

    Missouri Preservation Honor Award Nominations Due November 11

    From Missouri Preservation

    Is there an exemplary preservationist in your area or a great historic project that has been completed in the past year? Do you know of a great book that has been published which promotes preservation of our built environment in Missouri? Make sure these contributions and achievements are publicly recognized by nominating them for a Preservation Honor Award.

    Awards will be presented at the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City in March, 2011.

    Past awards have recognized lifetime achievements of preservationists and projects which have run the gamut from historic filling stations to high-rise apartment buildings.

    Download our nomination form by clicking here.


    Missouri Preservation Searching for Executive Director

    Missouri Preservation, Missouri’s statewide historic preservation advocacy organization, is searching for an Executive Director.  Criteria for the position are being developed, and the targeted hiring date is mid-February 2011.  Interested parties can contact Missouri Preservation at

    Bridges Missouri St. Louis County

    Route 66 Bridge at Times Beach Needs Your Help Now

    Historic photograph of the bridge at Times Beach from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

    From the Missouri Route 66 Association

    Please take the time to send your comments to MoDOT concerning the future of a bridge at Route 66 State Park. The bridge is scheduled for demolition in February 2012 and no replacement of any kind is currently planned. Comments MUST be sent before September 30th to be included in MoDOT’s file on this issue.

    Send your email comments to:

    Follow these links to MoDOTs website:

    Route 66 Meramec River Bridge Virtual Public Meeting

    This MoDOT website shows the results of the years of NO maintenance on the bridge since Times Beach was dis-incorporated in 1982:

    Route 66 State Park Bridge

    Other websites with information about the bridge:

    Meramec River US 66 Bridge

    Missouri holds new meeting for Route 66 bridge

    Friends of the Meramec River Route 66 Bridge (Facebook)

    Missouri Public Policy

    Act Now to Protect the Missouri Historic Tax Credit

    From the National Trust for Historic Preservation

    The Missouri Historic Tax Credit is under review. Governor Nixon’s Tax Credit Review Commission (TCRC) has begun its review of Missouri’s tax credit programs. In addition to the full TCRC meeting which was held September 8, 2010 to debrief the Commission members on all of the tax credit programs, there are several smaller regional meetings to be scheduled throughout the State, at which time public testimony will be taken.

    The Missouri State Historic Tax Credit program is under scrutiny by the commission. It is critically important at each of these public hearings for commission members to understand the great benefit of the historic tax credit to the state of Missouri!

    So how can you help? The National Trust for Historic Preservation is urging you to attend the upcoming regional TCRC meetings to voice that more cuts to the existing Historic Tax Credit Program will only reduce state revenues and kill more jobs, and that surrounding states are increasing their historic tax credit caps to create jobs.

    Upcoming TCRC Meetings:

    Cape Girardeau
    Monday, September 20th
    John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center
    Southeast Missouri State University, River Campus
    One University Plaza
    Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
    3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

    St. Louis
    Tuesday, September 21st
    Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District
    En Banc Courtroom
    One Post Office Square
    815 Olive Street
    St. Louis, MO 63101
    3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

    Please send an e-mail encouraging the continuation of the Missouri Historic Tax Credit. Write to the Tax Credit Review Commission today!

    Mid-Century Modern Missouri

    Tan-Tar-A Turns 50

    July 4th marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of Missouri’s Tan-Tar-A resort. The resort was the dream of St. Louis builder Burton Duenke, who was one of the pioneer builders of mid-century modern subdivision homes around St. Louis.

    This summer The Lake Today published an article about the 50th anniversary that includes the story of Tan-Tar-A’s development: “Resorting to celebration”.

    Thanks to Nathan Wilber for sharing.